Investments in power generation in Great Britain c.1960-2010: The role of accounting and the financialisation of investment decisions

Liz Warren, Martin Quinn, Gerhard Kristandl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
342 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: This paper aims to explore the increasing role of financialisation on investment decisions in the power generation industry in Great Britain (GB). Such decisions affect society, and the relative role of financialisation in these macro-levels decisions has not been explored from a historical perspective. Design/methodology/approach: The paper draws on historical material and interview data. Specifically, we use an approach inspired by institutional sociology drawing on elements of Scott’s (2014) pillars of institutions. Applying concepts stemming from regulative and normative pressures, we explore changes in investments over the analysis period to determine forces which institutionalised practices – such as accounting – into investment in power generation. Findings: Investments in electricity generation have different levels of public and private participation. However, the common logics that underpin such investment practices provide an important understanding of political-economics and institutional change in the UK. Thus, the heightened use of accounting in investment has been, to some extent, a contributory factor to the power supply problems now faced by the British public. Originality/value: This paper contributes to prior literature on the effects of financialisation on society, adding power generation/energy supply to the many societal level issues already explored. It also provides brief but unique insights into the changing nature of the role of accounting in an industry sector over an extended timeframe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-83
JournalQualitative Research in Accounting & Management
Issue number1
Early online date14 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Electricity generation
  • Financialisation
  • Institutional sociology
  • Investment
  • Society

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Accounting


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